The last time they faced this situation was in 2006 with Carlos Lee. When Lee's camp turned down a four-year offer worth about $48 million, the Brewers traded him to the Rangers for a package that included closer Francisco Cordero rather than lose him via free agency and get nothing but Draft picks in return.The difference is that Fielder is still two years removed from free agent eligibility, and both sides have made the point that there is no rush to negotiate. While that business matter continues to simmer, the San Francisco Giants took care of their own business with Fielder on Thursday afternoon when Barry Zito's first pitch to Fielder plunked him right in the middle of the back. It was almost certainly a punctuation mark to Fielder's choreographed celebration with his teammates at home plate after his 12th-inning home run beat the Giants last Sept. 6. The Giants didn't appreciate the show because they were still fighting for the playoffs. Nearly six months later, Fielder simply flipped the baseball that had struck him back in Zito's direction and trotted to first base. Casey McGehee then struck out to end the top of the first inning. "I hit the home run. Hit me," Fielder said after coming out of the game. "If that's what you've got to do, then that's what you've got to do." Fielder said he had no regrets about the September celebration. He was proud of himself for staying calm and avoiding a scene like the one that unfolded at Dodger Stadium last August, when television cameras caught Fielder charging toward the Dodgers clubhouse in search of former teammate Guillermo Mota, who had plunked him with a pitch. Mota, coincidentally, signed over the winter with the Giants. "Every time someone does something, I'm always the one videotaped. So I'm trying to be a good guy," Fielder said. "I [don't] want kids to see me that way so I'm trying to maintain. Unfortunately, some people like to test it sometimes. I'm working on it. I'm tired of being the bad guy. I took my base and everything was fine."
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.